KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's singles shuttler Wong Choong Hann did not enjoy a good badminton season last year. But he is looking forward for a change of fortunes along with changes in the coaching set-up this year.
The 28-year-old Choong Hann could be one of a few players to train under Chinese coach Li Mao. The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have hired the Chinese to handle the singles players in the national team.
Choong Hann is also expected to play a dual role this year too. Besides his singles event, the 28-year-old Choong Hann is also expected to play in the doubles with Lee Wan Wah.
All these changes are expected to be confirmed when the BAM coaching and training committee led by Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh meet on Monday to finalise their new coaching and training structure.
Choong Hann is looking forward to the changes, saying he was optimistic about kick-starting his “stagnating” badminton career again.
“I do not mind training under Li Mao if that's what BAM decide. I have to look at it positively,” said Choong Hann.
In the last two years, under national singles chief coach Misbun Sidek, Choong Hann lost his status as the top player in the country. He has also consistently failed to get the better of two youngsters – Lee Chong Wei and Mohd Hafiz Hashim.
On the possible partnership with Wan Wah, Choong Hann said: “I do not mind playing in the doubles. It will help my performances in the singles event in the long run.”
“By playing with Wan Wah, I will also be helping him to make a comeback (from his knee injury). He needs a partner and I am willing to help out,” said the lanky shuttler.
Wan Wah's regular partner Choong Tan Fook had been paired with Chew Choon Eng since Wan Wah's injury after the Athens Olympics.
Wan Wah is not the only one Choong Hann wants to help. Yesterday, Choong Hann and the rest of the national players also chipped in some money for the tsunami victims.
“After training, we discussed the matter. And we decided to do our part for the tsunami victims. Initially, we thought of hosting an exhibition match. But we need to apply for a licence and it can be rather time-consuming. Finally, we decided to pass the hat around. We have given the money to the BAM. They will hand it to the respective parties,” he said.
Yesterday, the BAM confirmed that they had received RM2,600 from the players.
The money will be given to the National Sports Council (NSC), who are organising a special tsunami relief aid function on Tuesday.